This creepy looking building is 9 minutes from Blackheath by train. 3 stops away from London takes you to Falconwood, where a fair amount of steep walking through forests eventually opens up to reveal this curious building. It is called Severndroog Castle, although it is more of a folly than a castle. It was the subject of a BBC Restoration programme, although it never actually got restored. The walk from the station takes you down a bland A-road, then down a forest path for a few minutes.
The forest opens up to reveal Oxleas Meadow, which according to a sign nearby, has a water reservoir beneath it.
At the top of the hill is a nice little cafe, selling teas, sandwiches, jacket potatoes and ice creams.
More aimless wandering through the forest (an A-to-Z really isn’t the best way to navigate when there aren’t any roads), and the Castle appears near the top of the hill.
It really is quite strange. It’s in a pretty terrible state, with cracks down the walls, and graffiti around what would have been the main entrance. I wouldn’t like to come and see it at night…
The upper windows have been shattered, and the lower ones have been blocked up, apart from the fake painted windows, which stare at you like blind eyes.
This plaque explains that the castle was built to:
“commemorate that gallant officers achievements in the East Indies, during his command of the Company’s Marine Forces in those seas, and in particular to record the conquest of the Castle of Severndroog off the coast of Malabar, which fell to his superior valour and able conduct on the 2nd day of April 1755”
The castle was built by Sir William James’ grieving wife to commemorate her husband. Her husband was part of the East India Company, which might explain why the place feels creepy…
The castle was opened to visitors last year, as part of the Open House event, and from the look of the open house website, it will be accessible this year on the weekend of 20th & 21st September.
Finally, take a look at this astonishing photograph of the castle by flickr user Short Sharp Shot. Most of his photos are taken around south east London, and all of them are great.